Vast and intimate

By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 2, 2008
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare | Directed by Lucy Smith Conroy | Produced by Portland Stage Company | though October 19 | 207.774.0465
Indeed, it’s a credit to the nuance and subtlety of this cast, and to Conroy’s masterful direction, that PSC’s Caesar feels like a portrait less of Brutus (often considered the play’s protagonist) than of an entire republic — from its shoemakers to its generals — in the process of self-annihilation. This production moves us to become as invested in the fate of that republic as we would in a character — a complex character, noble, flawed, infuriating, heartrending; a character whose insecurities and emotional weaknesses often hit disturbingly close to home. 

The character of our own real-life republic certainly has plenty of uncertainties to deal with at the moment, even without a financial meltdown in the works. In fact, another of Tocqueville’s timeless observations about us was that an American election year constitutes “a crisis in the affairs of the nation,” that it riles up “all the artificial passions which the imagination can create.” PSC’s sophisticated and devastating interpretation of Julius Caesar reminds us of just how crucial it is that we keep our heads.

Megan Grumbling can be reached at mgrumbling@hotmail.com.

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Related: Unkindest cuts, Et tu Brute?, Crossword: ''You're out!'', More more >
  Topics: Theater , William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, Julius Caesar,  More more >
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